At the legendary Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA, the hollywood orchestra, conducted by William Ross, performed live to picture the score composed by Philip Glass to the newest Nat Geo documentary about Jane Goodall.
The concert began with an introductory speech by Nat Geo CEO Courteney Monroe on the importance of having legendary documentarian Brett Morgen direct this film using unseen material of Jane Goodall filmed by Hugo Van Lawick during the sixties.
Brett Morgen then took to the stage, expressing his joy at working with Philip Glass and being able to use the film material Van Lawick shot around five decades ago.
Morgen finished his speech telling of how wonderful it was to interview Jane Goodall for about three straight days, to which Goodall pointed out that her interviews usually last two hours at most. To have had one lasting for almost three days said very much about how intelligent and prepared Brett Morgen, her interviewer, was.
After the introductions, the baton of Bill Ross hit the first beat and the orchestra started playing the always unique and distinctive Philip Glass musical vocabulary. This time, on a colorfully orchestrated score that for the most part used the piano as a centerpiece.
The score masterfully set the emotional tone of the film and recurrently used interesting orchestrational choices. It ranged from very intimate solo piano moments, from chamber, harp, and woodwind sections, to incredible tutti passages.
I am an old time Philip Glass lover. Actually, two of my favorite scores of all time are The Hours and Kundun. For me, seeing this movie with the score played live by this great orchestra was a complete joy.
In particular, there was a montage after the first half of the film where the music completely took my attention, the drive on the performance was phenomenal, the orchestration being full of color and character. Definitely a moment to remember.
After the end titles rolled over, the night closed with some emotive words by Goodall, together with the appearance on stage of her son and grandson, complete with a standing ovation when Philip Glass came on stage.
Bravo to all the members of the orchestra and its conductor, William Ross, for their beautiful performance to a packed Hollywood Bowl, around fifteen thousand people were there that night.
I will definitely not forget this concert, as it was sublime in many different ways. The dialogue between the score and the film, the performance of the orchestra, the always incredible Philip Glass writing, the beautiful cinematography, and the emotional response of the audience through the night, all together, made this a remarkable night, one to always remember.
Cover Photo Credit: Rebecca Hale (National Geographic)